Just a few days after Microsoft announced the availability of Direct 2D in Internet Explorer as a major feature, Firefox has started working on the availability of this support on Firefox 3.7.
Direct 2D will allow the browser to use the GPU power. This will enhance rendering of pages, which comes as a lifesaving boon to Internet Explorer and a boost to Firefox. Mozilla programmer Bas Schouten has already developed an alpha version which is rendered completely using the Direct 2D feature. The Direct 2D feature is especially used to render the menu bar and other UI elements. Though the difference between websites rendered using Direct 2D and the CPU in general is not evident currently, it will be once websites get heavier in near future. Schouten says in his personal blog,
A while ago I started my investigation into Direct2D usage in firefox (see bug 527707). Since then we’ve made significant progress and are now able to present a Firefox browser completely rendered using Direct2D.
This is seen as a welcome move from Mozilla team. The tests conducted with Direct 2D and general rendering has significant difference in websites like Twitter, Google and Facebook where the load time with Direct 2D is exactly half of current load times. The feature has not yet been confirmed to be included in Firefox 3.7 but is expected to be, sometime soon.
For technical details on this development, visit this blog post by the developer.